During the last financial year, we invested significant effort into strengthening our approach to governance. Strong governance is particularly important in times of challenge, for example as we responded to the bushfires and to COVID-19. The first challenge of governance is to ensure that we are true to our purpose and meeting our obligations as set out in our governing document. The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW requires us to carry out our mission which is ‘to directly relieve suffering or deprivation of those in need and to promote human dignity and personal integrity’.
The bushfires and COVID-19 have each required us to ensure strong governance. As we responded to the bushfires we have put in place systems to ensure that our funds were appropriately distributed; and during the COVID-19 pandemic we have developed a coordinated and well-documented approach to ensuring that all of our sites have appropriate safety measures in place.
During the last financial year, we supported our State Council and Board as they guided the work of the organisation – we have provided induction programs for new office holders; offered governance training opportunities; and reviewed our Board Charter. We also developed a Board Skills Matrix to support the recruitment of a skills-based Board of Directors. We commenced planning for a Governance Authority Matrix which will be further developed in the next financial year.
We also implemented some key governance policies including the Delegations of Authority Policy and the Procurement Policy – each of which support principled and ethical decision-making throughout the organisation.
During the year, several external accreditation processes reviewed our service provision about which they provided extremely positive reports. These accreditation processes considered governance standards and were satisfied that we met all applicable standards.
We will continue to strive to strengthen our approach to governance to ensure a transparent and accountable approach to all areas of our work.